NetOne’s Gift From China

Funding for Phase 1 of  NetOne’s National Mobile Broadband project is set to be received soon following President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s visit to China last week.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the objectives of the mission to China had been achieved.

By Kudakwashe Pembere

 “The funding of new projects had stopped because we were required to reach an agreement with China Eximbank and also Sinosure, which guarantees most of the investment signed in China,” he said.

“So, they had stopped disbursing, stopped funding new projects. As a result of this visit we were able to persuade the Chinese authorities that our failure to pay our loans was that these loan were legacy loans; these are legacy arrears and that we should be given time to undertake our reforms.”

Chinamasa said three projects were de-linked.

“The result was that the Chinese authorities have de-linked three specific projects, which could not take off. These had reached financial closure but could not take off.

“For Hwange 7 and 8, the disbursements will start immediately. The NetOne Phase 1 was also de-linked, and disbursement will start immediately. The same for Robert Mugabe International Airport.

“The important outcome was to de-link new things from old things. With respect to the old existing debts, we are taking discussions and the expectations is that the discussions will conclude soon,” said the minister.

When NetOne’s chief operating officer  Brian Mutandiro was the company’s Acting CEO, he said, “ In Phase One, we invested about $45 million which was from 2010 to 2013. Phase Two which will be completed by September will see an additional 2 300 stations going online with an additional 3 000 to be constructed in 2017 under Phase Three with a $485 million investment from the Chinese government,”he said.

“In Phase Two, NetOne which received equipment valued at over $160 million from China expanded its infrastructure network across the country following the $218 million loan from China Exim Bank.”

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